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WO2012175124A1 - Vapor deposition material source and method for making same - Google Patents

Vapor deposition material source and method for making same

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Publication number
WO2012175124A1
WO2012175124A1 PCT/EP2011/060461 EP2011060461W WO2012175124A1 WO 2012175124 A1 WO2012175124 A1 WO 2012175124A1 EP 2011060461 W EP2011060461 W EP 2011060461W WO 2012175124 A1 WO2012175124 A1 WO 2012175124A1
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WO
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Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
vapor
deposition
material
foam
cell
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/EP2011/060461
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Michael Long
Markus Gersdorff
Baskar Pagadala Gopi
Original Assignee
Aixtron Se
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

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    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C23COATING METALLIC MATERIAL; COATING MATERIAL WITH METALLIC MATERIAL; CHEMICAL SURFACE TREATMENT; DIFFUSION TREATMENT OF METALLIC MATERIAL; COATING BY VACUUM EVAPORATION, BY SPUTTERING, BY ION IMPLANTATION OR BY CHEMICAL VAPOUR DEPOSITION, IN GENERAL; INHIBITING CORROSION OF METALLIC MATERIAL OR INCRUSTATION IN GENERAL
    • C23CCOATING METALLIC MATERIAL; COATING MATERIAL WITH METALLIC MATERIAL; SURFACE TREATMENT OF METALLIC MATERIAL BY DIFFUSION INTO THE SURFACE, BY CHEMICAL CONVERSION OR SUBSTITUTION; COATING BY VACUUM EVAPORATION, BY SPUTTERING, BY ION IMPLANTATION OR BY CHEMICAL VAPOUR DEPOSITION, IN GENERAL
    • C23C14/00Coating by vacuum evaporation, by sputtering or by ion implantation of the coating forming material
    • C23C14/06Coating by vacuum evaporation, by sputtering or by ion implantation of the coating forming material characterised by the coating material
    • C23C14/12Organic material
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C23COATING METALLIC MATERIAL; COATING MATERIAL WITH METALLIC MATERIAL; CHEMICAL SURFACE TREATMENT; DIFFUSION TREATMENT OF METALLIC MATERIAL; COATING BY VACUUM EVAPORATION, BY SPUTTERING, BY ION IMPLANTATION OR BY CHEMICAL VAPOUR DEPOSITION, IN GENERAL; INHIBITING CORROSION OF METALLIC MATERIAL OR INCRUSTATION IN GENERAL
    • C23CCOATING METALLIC MATERIAL; COATING MATERIAL WITH METALLIC MATERIAL; SURFACE TREATMENT OF METALLIC MATERIAL BY DIFFUSION INTO THE SURFACE, BY CHEMICAL CONVERSION OR SUBSTITUTION; COATING BY VACUUM EVAPORATION, BY SPUTTERING, BY ION IMPLANTATION OR BY CHEMICAL VAPOUR DEPOSITION, IN GENERAL
    • C23C14/00Coating by vacuum evaporation, by sputtering or by ion implantation of the coating forming material
    • C23C14/04Coating on selected surface areas, e.g. using masks
    • C23C14/046Coating cavities or hollow spaces, e.g. interior of tubes; Infiltration of porous substrates
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C23COATING METALLIC MATERIAL; COATING MATERIAL WITH METALLIC MATERIAL; CHEMICAL SURFACE TREATMENT; DIFFUSION TREATMENT OF METALLIC MATERIAL; COATING BY VACUUM EVAPORATION, BY SPUTTERING, BY ION IMPLANTATION OR BY CHEMICAL VAPOUR DEPOSITION, IN GENERAL; INHIBITING CORROSION OF METALLIC MATERIAL OR INCRUSTATION IN GENERAL
    • C23CCOATING METALLIC MATERIAL; COATING MATERIAL WITH METALLIC MATERIAL; SURFACE TREATMENT OF METALLIC MATERIAL BY DIFFUSION INTO THE SURFACE, BY CHEMICAL CONVERSION OR SUBSTITUTION; COATING BY VACUUM EVAPORATION, BY SPUTTERING, BY ION IMPLANTATION OR BY CHEMICAL VAPOUR DEPOSITION, IN GENERAL
    • C23C14/00Coating by vacuum evaporation, by sputtering or by ion implantation of the coating forming material
    • C23C14/22Coating by vacuum evaporation, by sputtering or by ion implantation of the coating forming material characterised by the process of coating
    • C23C14/228Gas flow assisted PVD deposition
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C23COATING METALLIC MATERIAL; COATING MATERIAL WITH METALLIC MATERIAL; CHEMICAL SURFACE TREATMENT; DIFFUSION TREATMENT OF METALLIC MATERIAL; COATING BY VACUUM EVAPORATION, BY SPUTTERING, BY ION IMPLANTATION OR BY CHEMICAL VAPOUR DEPOSITION, IN GENERAL; INHIBITING CORROSION OF METALLIC MATERIAL OR INCRUSTATION IN GENERAL
    • C23CCOATING METALLIC MATERIAL; COATING MATERIAL WITH METALLIC MATERIAL; SURFACE TREATMENT OF METALLIC MATERIAL BY DIFFUSION INTO THE SURFACE, BY CHEMICAL CONVERSION OR SUBSTITUTION; COATING BY VACUUM EVAPORATION, BY SPUTTERING, BY ION IMPLANTATION OR BY CHEMICAL VAPOUR DEPOSITION, IN GENERAL
    • C23C14/00Coating by vacuum evaporation, by sputtering or by ion implantation of the coating forming material
    • C23C14/22Coating by vacuum evaporation, by sputtering or by ion implantation of the coating forming material characterised by the process of coating
    • C23C14/24Vacuum evaporation
    • C23C14/243Crucibles for source material
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C23COATING METALLIC MATERIAL; COATING MATERIAL WITH METALLIC MATERIAL; CHEMICAL SURFACE TREATMENT; DIFFUSION TREATMENT OF METALLIC MATERIAL; COATING BY VACUUM EVAPORATION, BY SPUTTERING, BY ION IMPLANTATION OR BY CHEMICAL VAPOUR DEPOSITION, IN GENERAL; INHIBITING CORROSION OF METALLIC MATERIAL OR INCRUSTATION IN GENERAL
    • C23CCOATING METALLIC MATERIAL; COATING MATERIAL WITH METALLIC MATERIAL; SURFACE TREATMENT OF METALLIC MATERIAL BY DIFFUSION INTO THE SURFACE, BY CHEMICAL CONVERSION OR SUBSTITUTION; COATING BY VACUUM EVAPORATION, BY SPUTTERING, BY ION IMPLANTATION OR BY CHEMICAL VAPOUR DEPOSITION, IN GENERAL
    • C23C14/00Coating by vacuum evaporation, by sputtering or by ion implantation of the coating forming material
    • C23C14/22Coating by vacuum evaporation, by sputtering or by ion implantation of the coating forming material characterised by the process of coating
    • C23C14/24Vacuum evaporation
    • C23C14/246Replenishment of source material
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C23COATING METALLIC MATERIAL; COATING MATERIAL WITH METALLIC MATERIAL; CHEMICAL SURFACE TREATMENT; DIFFUSION TREATMENT OF METALLIC MATERIAL; COATING BY VACUUM EVAPORATION, BY SPUTTERING, BY ION IMPLANTATION OR BY CHEMICAL VAPOUR DEPOSITION, IN GENERAL; INHIBITING CORROSION OF METALLIC MATERIAL OR INCRUSTATION IN GENERAL
    • C23CCOATING METALLIC MATERIAL; COATING MATERIAL WITH METALLIC MATERIAL; SURFACE TREATMENT OF METALLIC MATERIAL BY DIFFUSION INTO THE SURFACE, BY CHEMICAL CONVERSION OR SUBSTITUTION; COATING BY VACUUM EVAPORATION, BY SPUTTERING, BY ION IMPLANTATION OR BY CHEMICAL VAPOUR DEPOSITION, IN GENERAL
    • C23C14/00Coating by vacuum evaporation, by sputtering or by ion implantation of the coating forming material
    • C23C14/22Coating by vacuum evaporation, by sputtering or by ion implantation of the coating forming material characterised by the process of coating
    • C23C14/56Apparatus specially adapted for continuous coating; Arrangements for maintaining the vacuum, e.g. vacuum locks

Abstract

A vapor deposition material source and method for forming a vapor deposition material source for use in a vapor deposition process comprising a conductive three-dimensional, open cell, reticulated structure; and a solid coating of a selected vapor deposition material vapor deposited onto the conductive three-dimensional, open cell, reticulated structure by vapor deposition.

Description

VAPOR DEPOSITION MATERIAL SOURCE AND METHOD FOR MAKING

SAME

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to the field of physical vapor deposition and more specifically to Organic Vapor Phase Deposition where a source material is heated to a temperature so as to cause vaporization and a vapor plume is created that mixes with and is transported by an inert carrier gas to a substrate where the organic material condenses to form a thin film.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

There are numerous methods for vapor depositing materials onto the surface of a substrate known in the prior art. Most often, at the start of a production run a crucible is filled with hundreds of grams of material to be deposited on the substrate. The material is placed in the crucible in powdered form. The crucible and its contents are then heated to a temperature that provides the desired vaporization rate.

This approach can achieve a very stable deposition rate using a crystal rate monitor to provide feedback to a slow response temperature control system but exposes much of the material in the crucible to high temperatures for an extended time period. This extended exposure to high temperatures poses a significant risk of thermal decomposition to many materials, particularly organic materials used in

OLED (organic light-emitting diode) devices. These methods are additionally unable to rapidly initiate and interrupt vaporization. The chemical distinction between organic and inorganic materials is somewhat arbitrary but typically, in the thin film deposition field, one considers metals and their oxides, nitrides and carbides as being inorganic. By this definition, the risk of decomposition with inorganic materials is very low by comparison. Even the precursors used in metalorganic Chemical Vapor Deposition (MOCVD) (metalorganic chemical vapor deposition) are very thermally stable relative to the organic materials used for small molecule OLED devices. To address these problems, automatic refilling or crucible exchanging systems have been developed where a small quantity of organic material is introduced on a repeating basis such that it is consumed before significant decomposition occurs as shown in US Pub. No. 20090061090 by Negishi. In some static deposition systems such as taught in US Pub. No. 20100015324 by Negishi, the quantity of organic material introduced per cycle is described as corresponding precisely to the desired deposited film thickness and no attempt is made to control the deposition rate.

Flash vaporization sources have also been developed to address the decomposition issue by metering cooled, powdered organic material to a heated screen element as taught in US Patent no. 7,288,286 by Long or to a porous heating element as taught in US Pub. No. 2009 0039175 by Long and in US Patent no. 6,037,241 by Powell, on an as-needed basis. These sources reduce the thermal exposure time of the organic material to a second or two and allow rapid initiation and interruption of vaporization of single component and multi-component powder mixtures having widely different saturation vapor pressures. To achieve a stable deposition rate however, these systems require fast response feedback systems to compensate for variability in the material feed rate and variability in the vapor generation rate due to variations in powder particle size and packing density. A stable deposition rate, in terms of OLED material deposition, requires material feed accuracy measured in tens of micrograms and feed rate stability in single digit micrograms per second per square meter of substrate surface area.

US Pub. No. 20080193644 by Frob describes a porous heating element that is loadable such that the porous structure is packed with a powdered material to be coated onto a substrate. The powdered material is vaporized when the temperature of the heating element is raised.

The difficulty in precisely metering fine powders due to their tendency to adhere to surfaces and agglomerate, the vaporization variability due to particle size variation and the poor thermal conductivity of powders have motivated the development of solid and liquid fed systems. Transforming the powdered organic material into a solid pellet typically requires further grinding the powders to achieve sub micron particle sizes and sometimes the addition of inert binders before pressing the mixture in a hydraulic press to insure some minimum level of solid integrity. The displacement of the solid pellet is precisely controlled as it is advanced, usually to a grinding apparatus to recreate a powder stream or aerosol that is then directed to a heating element for vaporization as in US Patent no. 5,820,678 by Hubert. In this method, the majority of the variability of handling powders is moved to the pellet preparation process at some additional cost with the additional caveat that there is an increased likelihood of contamination to the organic material.

Vaporization apparatus based on spraying a stream of atomized liquid droplets have been developed for vaporizing liquid precursors in MOCVD systems. Apparatus of similar concept have been adapted for use with organic materials, such as taught in US Pub. No. 20050227004 by Burrows. US Pub. No. 20060115585 by Bulovic and US Patent no. 5,204,314 by Kirlin disclose processes involving jetted droplets. These systems benefit from the well developed technology for precisely dispensing even very small quantities of liquids and benefit from the ability of the liquid to rapidly conduct heat from the heating element and vaporize almost immediately.

Vapor depositing OLED materials can be even more problematic. An OLED device includes a substrate, an anode, a hole injecting and transporting layer made of an organic compound, one or more organic luminescent layers with suitable dopants, an organic electron injection and transporting layer, and a cathode. OLED devices are attractive because of their low driving voltage, high luminance, wide-angle viewing and capability for full color, thin emissive displays. Tang et al. described this multilayer OLED device in their U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,769,292 and 4,885,211. High performance OLED devices have been commercialized using manufacturing processes that rely on heating the organic materials to temperatures sufficient to cause sublimation. The organic material vapors are then condensed as thin films on the surface of a substrate to form an OLED device.

An important distinction between the MOCVD systems and the OLED systems is that the MOCVD precursors are liquids whereas the OLED materials are solids below 200°C and can typically only be dissolved to a 1 or 2 percent

concentration in solvents. As a result, substantial volumes of solvent vapor are generated as the liquids are vaporized. Systems based on suspensions of the organic material particles in an inert liquid have higher material loading but maintaining suspension homogeneity is problematic. In all cases, it has proven extremely difficult to remove trace contaminants from the liquids that diminish the OLED device performance and to additionally insure that solvent molecules, potentially

incorporated in the deposited films do not decrease device lifetime or efficiency.

The inherent difficulty in removing trace contaminants from liquids is a fundamental reason why OLED materials are subjected to a thermal evaporation purification process that is often repeated several times before the desired purity is achieved. The material resulting from the liquid based chemical synthesis of the desired organic molecule is purified through a thermal vaporization process by heating it in a crucible and directing the vapor to condense along the length of a condensate collection tube having a controlled temperature and temperature gradient.

Contaminants having lower volatility than the target molecule tend to condense preferentially at the hotter end of the glass tube while higher volatility contaminants tent to condense preferentially at the colder end of the tube. In principle, with the right temperature and temperature gradient along the condensate collection tube, high purity condensed films can be recovered from a zone near the middle of the tube. The condensate film is removed, as flakes from the walls of the condensate collection tube and is ground into powder form. After one or more purification sublimation cycles, high purity condensate is recovered and is ultimately ground into the final powder form having a specified particle size range.

US Patent no. 5,059,292 to Collins et al. describes a single chamber apparatus and method for in-situ generation of dangerous polyatomic gases and radicals from solid or liquid source materials contained within a porous foamed structure that is used for both storage and evaporation. A cooled cathode is provided for establishing a plasma discharge within the chamber and a heat source is provided to maintain the porous foamed structure within a fixed temperature range chosen such that the source material is removed from the porous foamed structure by evaporation induced by heat from the heat source while at the same time preventing consumption by evaporation of the porous foamed structure itself. The source material is put into the liquid state (by melting from a solid if applicable) and is absorbed in large amounts into the pores of the foamed structure. The foamed structure acts as a large capacity reservoir for the source material and as heat is applied to vaporize the source material from a surface of the foamed structure, new source material continually wicks to the heated surface.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The prior art fails to teach a vapor deposition method wherein the deposition rate stability on the target is decoupled from any variability in the replenishment vapor flux due to difficulties and variability in metering and vaporizing minute powder quantities on an as-needed basis. This is accomplished through the use of a conductive open cell structure as an intermediate vapor deposition receptacle. The conductive open cell structure of the intermediate vapor deposition receptacle is preferably electrically conductive, but may instead be thermally conductive, or it may be both electrically and thermally conductive. The material to be vapor deposited on the target substrate is first vapor deposited in the open cell structure of the

intermediate vapor deposition receptacle such that the intermediate vapor deposition receptacle becomes a vapor deposition material source structure. The vapor deposition material source structure then may be used as a vapor deposition material source for vapor deposition on the final target substrate. With this arrangement, the vapor generation rate stability of the open cell structure of the vapor deposition material source structure determines the deposition rate stability on the target substrate. By utilizing a phase change from gas to solid between the input vapor and the output vapor in the open cell structure, the objective of establishing and maintaining a precise and substantially invariant flux of the output vapor is decoupled from the difficulties of maintaining a stable deposition rate from a vapor on demand flash vaporization system. The term "substantially invariant" is used herein to denote deposition rate stability better than +/- 0.5%. This stability is maintained when the foam is re- vaporizing condensate deposited at a much earlier time (temporal separation) as well as when vapor with a stability of +/- 8% is entering one side of the foam and condensing while vapor with a stability of +/- 0.5% or better is

simultaneously exiting the other side of the foam (spatial separation).

The invention allows substantial simplification in the preparation and vaporization of vapor deposition materials, particularly of organic material for making OLED devices through consideration of the organic material purification process and consideration of the variables such as temperature, thermal exposure time, thermal conductivity, surface area, partial pressure, total pressure and convection that control organic material vaporization and decomposition.

According to one aspect of the present invention a vapor deposition material source for use in a vapor deposition process is provided comprising

a conductive three-dimensional, open cell, reticulated structure; and a solid coating of a selected vapor deposition material coated onto the conductive three-dimensional, open cell, reticulated structure by vapor deposition.

According to a second aspect of the present invention a method of forming a vapor deposition material source structure is provided having a stable vapor generation rate for use in a vapor deposition process comprising vaporizing a selected solid material to form a vapor; uniformly distributing the vapor throughout a conductive, three-dimensional, open cell, reticulated structure; and

condensing the vapor to form a solid coating of the selected solid material on the three-dimensional, open cell, reticulated structure.

According to a third aspect of the present invention the conductive three- dimensional, open cell, reticulated structure is preferably a vitreous carbon foam. A coating of a refractory metal or ceramic material vapor may first be vapor deposited on the conductive three-dimensional, open cell, reticulated structure, the solid coating of the selected vapor deposition material residing on top of the coating of the refractory metal or ceramic material. The solid coating of the selected vapor deposition material has a thickness in the range of from about lnm to about 2μιη and is substantially free of contaminants. The selected vapor deposition material is an organic or organo -metallic material such as an OLED material.

According to a fourth aspect of the present invention a vapor deposition source is provided for depositing OLED materials comprising a conductive three- dimensional, open cell, reticulated structure; and a solid coating of a selected organic or organo -metallic material coated onto the conductive three-dimensional, open cell, reticulated structure by vapor deposition.

The three-dimensional open cell, reticulated structure is preferably composed of struts or ligaments. The ligaments collectively have a large surface area relative to the deposition target and the ligaments collect the organic material vapor in the form of a conformal, thin condensate coating. The open cell element includes means for generating heat in or conducting heat into the ligaments and a means for controlling the temperature of the ligaments so as to controllably vaporize the conformal organic material coating condensed thereon. The large surface area of contact and the low thermal contact resistance between the ligaments and the organic material condensed thereon provide a controllable and unusually large organic vapor flux for a given heating element volume and temperature.

An inert gas is caused to flow through the three-dimensional open cell element and around the ligaments, the ligaments providing a tortuous flow path that promotes mixing of the inert gas with the organic vapor generated around the heated ligaments. The flow and temperature of the gas contribute to controlling the rate of generation and transport of the organic vapor toward the deposition target.

The conductive three-dimensional, open cell, reticulated structure is preferably an open cell vitreous carbon foam. Open cell vitreous carbon foam, also called reticulated vitreous carbon foam, is a vitreous carbon structure of three dimensional interconnected polyhedron cells. Vitreous carbon is a glassy carbon as opposed to a graphitic carbon. A cell is typically comprised of 12 to 14 connected struts or ligaments which form a three dimensional polyhedron. An open cell is a cell where no film or solid is connected between the ligaments so that there is free communication in to and out of a cell, and in a group of adjoining cells all cells are interconnected and form a three dimensional interconnected structure. Open cell foam has a structure which typically consists of three dimensional interconnected polyhedron cells with 12 to 14 ligaments composing each cell, and each cell having a spheroidal shape. A method for producing reticulated carbon foam is taught in US Patent no. 6,103,149 to Stankiewicz. Stankiewicz states that the vitreous carbon foam is often coated with other materials via a chemical vapor deposition process. If the underlying vitreous carbon foam has a vast majority of cells with aspect ratios greatly different than 1 the resultant coated foam will have cells with aspect ratios greatly different than 1 and the resultant coated foam may have anisotropic properties. Chemical vapor deposition is used to coat carbon foams with ceramics such as SiC or BN and metals such as W or Ta. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Figure 1 depicts a schematic view of an open cell intermediate vapor deposition receptacle within a condensate collection tube of a sublimation purification apparatus, all of which is contained within a deposition chamber.

Figure 1 A is a graph illustrating the temperature gradient across the condensate collection tube.

Figure 2 is a magnified view of the open cell intermediate deposition receptacle where the interconnected ligaments composing the foam are clearly visible.

Figure 3 is a highly magnified cross section of a ligament composing the open cell vapor deposition receptacle with a coating of a refractory metal or ceramic and/ or vaporizable material thereon.

Figure 4 is a schematic depiction of a vapor deposition apparatus using the open cell vapor deposition material source structure for vapor deposition

Figure 4A depicts a cross sectional view of an open cell vapor deposition material source structure and accompanying support structure taken along line III - III of Figure 4.

Figure 5 depicts a schematic view of an alternative vapor deposition apparatus to the apparatus of Figure 4 including two open cell vapor deposition material source structures for vapor deposition.

Figure 6 depicts a cross sectional view of an open cell vapor deposition material source structure and accompanying support structure taken along line IV - IV of Figure 5.

Figure 6A depicts a cross sectional view of an open cell vapor deposition material source structure and accompanying support structure taken along line V - V of Figure 5.

Figure 7 depicts a top view of an exemplary apparatus wherein multiple condensate coated foam heating elements can be loaded on a deposition head and sequentially heated to generate a material vapor and wherein a controllable carrier gas flow is directed through the active open cell deposition receptacle to acquire the material vapor in the carrier gas and deposit a material film on a facing substrate surface. Figure 8 depicts a perspective view of the exemplary apparatus of Figure 7. Figure 9 is a top view of an exemplary apparatus wherein multiple condensate coated foam heating elements are loaded on more than one deposition head (as depicted in Figure 8) and are sequentially heated to generate multiple material vapors and wherein carrier gas flows are directed through respective active open cell deposition receptacles to acquire the material vapors in the carrier gas and deposit multiple material film on respective facing substrate surfaces simultaneously.

Figure 10 is a top view of an alternative exemplary apparatus to the apparatus shown in Figure 9 wherein multiple condensate coated foam heating elements can be loaded in a deposition system and sequentially heated to generate a material vapor and wherein a controllable carrier gas flow is directed through the active open cell deposition receptacle to acquire the material vapor and deposit a material film on a facing substrate surface. An additional gas flow path is provided to enable in-situ replenishment of the condensate coating within one or more of the then inactive intermediate deposition receptacles.

Figure 11 is a section view through the plane indicated as line VII-VII of the apparatus of Figure 10.

Figure 12 is a perspective view of a second alternative exemplary apparatus to the apparatus shown in Figure 8 wherein multiple condensate coated foam heating elements can be loaded in a deposition system and sequentially heated to generate a material vapor and wherein a controllable carrier gas flow is directed through the active open cell deposition receptacle to acquire the material vapor in the carrier gas. An additional gas flow path is provided to enable in-situ replenishment of the condensate coating within one or more of the then inactive intermediate deposition receptacles.

Figure 13 is a bottom plan view of the second alternative exemplary apparatus of Figure 12 showing the gas flow passages in phantom.

Figure 14 is a section view along the plane XII as shown in Figure 13 additionally including the facing target substrate.

Figure 14A is a perspective view of the apparatus depicted in Figures 12 - 14, shown with a larger target substrate positioned adjacent to the open cell foam heating elements. Figure 15 depicts a schematic view of an alternative vapor deposition apparatus to the apparatus of Figures 4 and 5 including multiple gas inlets and multiple vapor sources that are mixed and delivered to the first and second open cell heater elements on an as-needed basis.

Figure 15A depicts a cross sectional view of an open cell heating element and accompanying support structure taken along line III -III of Figure 15.

Figure 16 is a depiction of the vapor flux stabilization effect of the apparatus depicted in Figure 15 arising from the action of admitting a vapor to the open cell intermediate deposition receptacle, momentarily condensing the vapor and then evaporating the condensate at a steady vapor flux.

Figure 17 is a schematic depiction of a vapor deposition apparatus for vapor deposition onto substrates transported through a vapor deposition chamber on a conveyor and employing multiple vapor deposition heads.

Figure 18 is a schematic depiction of a vapor deposition apparatus for vapor deposition onto extended length substrates transported through a vapor deposition chamber on a conveyor and employing multiple vapor deposition heads

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The invention has been described in detail with particular reference to certain preferred embodiments thereof, but it will be understood that variations and modifications can be effected within the spirit and scope of the invention.

An improved vaporization process has been developed that eliminates the need for precise powder metering or the use of liquids or pre-processing of the powder to form pellets. This improved vaporization process reduces thermal exposure of the organic material while it eliminates the need for a fast response control system. The design is guided by the observation that the principal factors governing the vaporization or sublimation of a material; temperature, surface area, partial pressure and total pressure are typically only controlled in a general or macro sense. The limited contact between the walls of a crucible and the organic powder it contains, the large thermal gradient that can exist through organic powders, the variation in powder particle size and the local partial and total pressure gradients within a heated mass of powder all contribute to imprecise vaporization control and the need for crucible temperatures in excess of the theoretical value necessary to attain a given deposition rate. The following principles are useful in understanding how the local vaporization conditions can be significantly different from the average vaporization conditions:

First, vaporization rate under high vacuum conditions varies exponentially with the temperature of the organic material. At useful vaporization temperatures for OLED materials, a 1°C change in material temperature can effect a 5% change in vaporization rate.

Second, organic powders are good insulators, especially under high vacuum conditions and those that sublimate are especially difficult to heat by solid conduction once they generate an isolating vapor barrier around the particle. Considering the energy lost to vaporization and the insulating properties of the powder, the effective material temperature can be far lower than the heater temperature and a large thermal gradient can exist through the volume of organic material. Both sources of uncertainty in the organic material temperature lead to uncertainties in the deposition rate. Experiments conducted with A1Q3 and NPB, two well known and well characterized OLED materials, provided evidence that temperatures of the foam ligaments between 160°C and 170°C generate deposition rates normally associated with crucible temperatures of 380°C to 390°C. This several hundred degree lower than expected vaporizer temperature for a given vapor flux was verified by three independent measurement methods.

Third, the melting point of materials having dimensions under 10 nm can be tens to hundreds of degrees lower than the bulk material melting point. The amount of melting point depression increases with decreasing particle size because the surface atoms in a nanometer sized particle have fewer neighboring atoms in close proximity compared to atoms in the bulk of the solid and are therefore bound with less cohesive energy. The cohesive energy of an atom is directly related to the thermal energy required to free the atom from the solid and hence its melting point. The melting point depression observed in nanometer size particles pertains also to thin films and particularly to the first stages of thin film formation where single molecules condense and then coalesce with other molecules into sub nanometer size islands before finally forming a continuous film. This phenomenon is believed to contribute to the unexpectedly low vaporization temperatures observed experimentally.

Fourth, vaporization flux under high vacuum conditions is proportional to the exposed surface area of heated organic material. Increasing the surface area of the organic material can allow a reduction in the temperature required to achieve a given deposition rate.

Fifth, variability in the local deposition rate exists because actual vaporization rate is inversely proportional to the local partial pressure surrounding the powder particles. Adjacent and underlying particles can reduce the theoretical vaporization rate of a given particle either by 1) acting as condensation sites if they are cooler or 2) vaporizing, themselves, effectively driving the local partial pressure toward saturation if the vapor escape is impeded.

Sixth, actual evaporation rate is inversely proportional to the total pressure, and the thickness and density of any boundary layer present. Diffusion through a local boundary layer will slow the local vaporization rate by creating an apparent high partial pressure. A carrier gas can be effective in controlling the deposition rate through its influence on total pressure, boundary layer thickness and partial pressure.

Looking at Figure 1 , the invention includes the introduction of one or more open cell foam structures 10 into the center region of a sublimation purification apparatus 11 on whose large surface area is deposited a conformal thin film of the purified organic material condensate. As shown in Figure 1, the material to be purified 12 is loaded in a vaporization apparatus 14 within a vacuum chamber 16 and heated by heating elements 18 to a temperature necessary to produce an effective vaporization rate. The vaporization apparatus 14 may be a simple crucible 20 or may use flash vaporization to vaporize the material with little thermal exposure time.

Alternatively, the vaporization apparatus 14 may advantageously utilize the apparatus of this disclosure instead of crucible 20 to vaporize the material to be purified. The vapor is directed to pass through a condensate collection tube 22 having a temperature gradient illustrated in the accompanying graph (see Figure 1 A) such that the temperature of condensate collection tube 22 is higher at the end nearest the vaporization apparatus 14 and lower at the opposite end. Intermediate to the two ends of the condensate collection tube 22 is placed one or more open cell foam elements 10 whose temperature is controlled and maintained at a desired condensation temperature Tc such that vapor having the desired molecular structure preferentially condenses on the open cell foam element 10. The foam element 10 can be placed as in Figure 1 with the face of the one or more foam elements positioned normal to the axis of the condensate collection tube 22 or the foam element 10 can have a polyhedral or tubular shape and be positioned concentric within the condensate collection tube 22. The foam element 10 can also take the form of flat plates arranged to generally conform to the walls of the condensate collection tube 22. The vacuum chamber 16 is maintained at a desired pressure by vacuum pump 21 in combination with pressure sensor 24 and pressure controller 26. Figure 2 is a magnified view of the open cell, polyhedral structure of the foam element 10 composed of interconnected struts or ligaments 28. Such foam, made from glassy carbon, is commercially available from ERG

Aerospace. These foam materials can be coated with metals and ceramics through a chemical deposition process.

Figure 3 is a highly magnified view of a cross section of a ligament 28 of the foam having a generally triangular shape that is surrounded in this illustration by a very thick coating of condensed material 30.

Collecting the purified organic material condensate in this manner eliminates the step of removing condensate from the inside of the collection tube in the sublimation purification apparatus and then grinding the condensate to a prescribed particle size and particle size range as is typically done in preparing OLED materials for vapor deposition. The improved method of collecting the condensate directly from the purification sublimation apparatus 11 greatly reduces the health risks of collecting and processing fine powders and additionally eliminates losses and contamination in the removal, grinding and particle sizing processes.

The condensate infused open cell foam element 10 is removed from the sublimation purification apparatus 11 and placed in a vapor deposition apparatus 32 as shown in Figure 4. A carrier gas is directed from an input tube 34 through a mass flow controller 36 and an optional gas heater 38. The carrier gas enters the deposition apparatus 32 through an input duct 40 and is directed uniformly over the surface of the open cell foam element 10 by a gas distribution manifold or plenum 42. Electrical energy for heating is brought in to the foam element 10 through wires 44, 45 and contacts 46, 48 such that foam element 10 functions as a heating element. In this manner, the temperature of foam element 10 is controlled to vaporize the material condensed on the surfaces within the open cell foam element 10 at a rate that is well correlated to the pressure inside vacuum chamber 50, carrier gas flow rate and the temperature of foam element 10 because of the intimate thermal contact between the dense conformal condensate film and the surface of the open cell foam element 10. A substrate holder 52 controls the temperature of substrate 54 and the interior of the vacuum chamber 50 is maintained at a desired pressure by vacuum pump 56 in combination with pressure sensor 58 and pressure controller 60. The gas distribution manifold 42 may be heated by heating elements 62 to a temperature sufficient to prevent condensation on the internal surfaces of gas distribution manifold 42 of vapor molecules back diffusing through the carrier gas flow.

Those skilled in the art will recognize that the target, temperature controlled substrate for the embodiments described herein may take many forms. The target substrate would most commonly be a borosilicate glass panel having a thickness between 0.3 and 0.7 mm which is polished on both faces for display applications. For lighting applications which tend to be more sensitive to cost, the target substrate would most commonly be a soda-lime glass panel with a thickness between 0.5 and 1 mm which is polished on at least one face. It is also known to use a flexible substrate made from glass, aluminum or stainless steel foil. These foils are typically between 25 and 100 microns thick. Polymeric substrates such as PET and PEN have also been used after a moisture barrier film coating has been first deposited as a support layer for the OLED material.

Looking at Figure 4A, there is shown a cross section view of vapor deposition apparatus 32. Heater 10 is sandwiched between electrodes 64, 66. The electrodes 64, 66 are preferably a conductive metal foil, and current flows through electrodes 64, 66 to the ligaments of heater 10 to cause heat to be produced. Electrical cable leads 68, 70 connect to electrodes 64 and 66, respectively. Electrodes 64, 66 preferably take the form of conductive foils. A variety of metals can be used for the electrodes 64, 66. Conveniently, titanium, tantalum, tungsten, or molybdenum or coatings of these materials on softer metals such as copper or silver can be used due to their relative chemical inertness at elevated temperatures. Compliant elements 72, 74 are heat resistant and optionally thermally conductive material. Compliant elements 72, 74 can conform to the surface texture of heater 10 and create local deformation of conductive foils 64, 66 when the heater 10 is pressed against the compliantly supported conductive foils 64, 66. One example of useful compliant material is GRAFOIL®. UCA Carbon Company Inc. of Wilmington, DE., manufactures GRAFOIL® Flexible Graphite as a rolled sheet product that exhibits good heat resistance and typically exceeds 97% elemental carbon by weight.

The sandwich configuration shown in Figure 4A provides low contact resistance between the heater 10 and the conductive foils 64 and 66, insuring that at least 90 percent of the heat is generated in the ligaments of heater 10 instead of at the interface between the electrodes 64, 66 and the heater 10. Nano-particulate silver paint can also be used to lower the electrical contact resistance between the electrodes 64, 66 and the carbon foam material of the heater 10. Because the silver particles are of a nanometer size, they soften and melt at temperatures hundreds of degrees less that the melting temperature of bulk silver. This behavior is very size dependent and facilitates the establishment of excellent electrical contact between the electrodes 64, 66 and the carbon foam material of the heater 10. The heater 10 and foils 64, 66 and compliant elements 72, 74 are clamped together by contacts 76, 78. Contacts 76, 78 may be electrically conductive and be attached to electrodes 64, 66, respectively to carry current to the heater 10. Alternately, the contacts 76, 78 could be electrical insulators or have an electrically insulating coating but act as thermal conductors to cool heater 10. Isolating element 80 electrically and thermally isolates the heating structure from the vapor manifold or plenum 42 and the entire assembly is unitized by clamping structure 84. A thermocouple 86 or infrared sensor can be used to measure the temperature of heater 10 and provide feedback to control the current delivered to heater 10. It is also possible to measure the voltage and current delivered to heater 10 as a function of temperature to determine the effective electrical resistance. Most materials have a measurable temperature coefficient of resistance and after calibration; it is possible to infer the average heater temperature based on the effective resistance.

Figure 5 depicts an alternative vapor deposition apparatus 100 similar to the apparatus 32 shown in Figure 4. A carrier gas is directed from an input tube 102 through a mass flow controller 104 and an optional gas heater 106. The carrier gas enters the vapor deposition apparatus 100 through an input duct 108 and is directed uniformly over the surface of the open cell foam element 10 by a gas distribution manifold or plenum 110. Electrical energy for heating is brought in to the foam element 10 through wires 112, 113 and contacts 114, 116 such that foam element 10 functions as a heater. In this manner, the temperature of foam element 10 is controlled to vaporize the material condensed on the surfaces within the open cell foam element 10 at a rate that is well correlated to the pressure within vacuum chamber 118, carrier gas flow rate and the foam temperature because of the intimate thermal contact between the dense conformal condensate film and the surface of the open cell foam element 10. A substrate holder 120 controls the temperature of substrate 122 and the interior of the vacuum chamber 118 is maintained at a desired pressure by vacuum pump 124 in combination with pressure sensor 126 and pressure controller 128. The gas distribution manifold or plenum 110 may be heated by heating elements 130 to a temperature sufficient to prevent condensation on its internal surfaces of vapor molecules back diffusing through the carrier gas flow. In this embodiment, the gas distribution function within gas distribution plenum 110 is accomplished with a second open cell foam structure or heating element 132 similar or identical to the open cell foam element 10 used to re-vaporize the condensed material. However, second open cell foam structure or element 132 does not have vapor deposition coating thereon. Instead of acting as a source of vapor deposition material in the vapor deposition process, second open cell foam structure 132 serves to evenly distribute the carrier gas across the upstream face of the open cell foam element 10. The open cell foam structure 132 may be heated by passing electrical current through contacts 134, 136 and current delivery wires 138, 139. As such, second open cell foam structure 132 may optionally be used to preheat the carrier gas. The combination of the gas distribution manifold 110, heating elements 130, and an optional gas heater 106, input duct 108, wires 112 and contacts 114 and 116, along with the open cell heating elements 10, 132 may be referred to herein as a vapor deposition head 140. Open cell foam structures are well known to randomly change the direction of a steady flow of gasses passing through them and thereby produce a spatially uniform output flow over the entire area of the output face of the foam even when the input flow is focused over less than 1 percent of the area of the input face of the foam. The configuration shown in Figure 5 is especially advantageous in that a single open cell foam element 132 provides uniform carrier gas flow to the heating and vaporizing open cell foam element 10, can provide heating of the carrier gas, and can be heated to a controlled temperature to prevent condensation on its surfaces as well as the surfaces of the gas distribution manifold 110 from vapor molecules generated from open cell foam element 10 that back diffuse through the carrier gas flow. This method achieves precise vapor deposition rates based on heater temperature and carrier gas flow without the need to accurately prepare and dispense powders, without the need to introduce liquids, and without the need for a fast response control system. In working with a condensate film as opposed to powders, this method additionally reduces the exposed surface area of the organic material that can be subject to infiltration of water vapor and other contaminants. When the organic material infused in the open cell foam is exhausted, a new foam element with a fresh charge of organic material may be introduced.

Three dimensional, open cell reticulated foam structures are commercially available having 90 to 97% open porosity. In these open cell reticulated foams, only the edges of the polyhedral shaped cells remain. The edges of the cells or ligaments most often have a generally triangular cross section and collectively present a large surface area relative to the volume of the foam. A one micron thick organic condensate enveloping each ligament in 250 cm3 of foam volume would constitute 1 gram of condensed organic material. Relative to systems vaporizing powders, the intimate mechanical contact between the conformal condensed organic film and the ligaments in the open cell foam structure provides superior temperature uniformity and heat transfer to the entirety of the organic material as well as improved control and correlation between the temperature of the ligaments and the vaporization rate of the organic material.

The open cell foam can be made from glassy carbon, for example, and therefore can be used as a responsive electrical resistance heater because it is electrically conductive. Further, the very low mass of the open cell foam allows for a very fast heating response. While glassy carbon is relatively inert, refractory metals (e.g. niobium, tantalum, tungsten, molybdenum, and rhenium), inert metals (e.g. gold and platinum), and ceramic compounds (e.g. the oxides, nitrides, carbides, borides, and silicides of the metals) may be deposited over the glassy carbon structure by CVD to produce a conformal coating, retaining the resistance heating characteristics of the glassy carbon while improving the thermal conductivity, the mechanical strength and the maximum service temperature of the foam in air. By introducing a coating on the glassy carbon, it is also possible to control the emissivity of the foam element to, for example, minimize the energy absorbed and emitted through thermal radiation. A perspective view of a section of the foam structure is depicted in Figure 2.

Looking at Figure 6, there shown a cross section view of vapor deposition apparatus 100 passing along line IV - IV in Figure 5 through heater 10. A parallel cross section through heater 132 in Figure 5 along line V-V is shown in Figure 6A. Both Figures 6 and 6A show identical functional elements to those shown in Figure 4A. Heater 10 is sandwiched between electrodes 142, 144. The electrodes 142, 144 are made of a conductive metal foil, and electrical current flows through the electrodes 142, 144 to the ligaments of heater 10 through electrodes 142, 144 to cause resistance heat to be produced in the ligaments. Electrical cable leads or wires 112, 113 connect to electrodes 142, 144, respectively. Electrodes 142, 144 preferably take the form of conductive foils. A variety of metals can be used for the electrodes 142, 144.

Conveniently, titanium, tantalum, tungsten, or molybdenum or coatings of these materials on softer metals such as copper or silver can be used due to their relative chemical inertness at elevated temperatures. Compliant elements 146, 148 are heat resistant and, optionally, thermally conductive material. Compliant elements 146, 148 can conform to the surface texture of heater 10 and create local deformation of electrodes 142, 144 when the heater 10 is pressed against the compliantly supported 142, 144. One example of useful compliant material is GRAFOIL®. UCAR Carbon Company Inc. of Wilmington, DE., manufactures GRAFOIL® Flexible Graphite as a rolled sheet product that exhibits good heat resistance and typically exceeds 97% elemental carbon by weight.

The sandwich configuration shown in Figure 6 provides low contact resistance between the heater 10 and the electrodes 142, 144, insuring that at least 90 percent of the heat is generated in the ligaments of heater 10 instead of at the interface between the 142, 144 and the heater 10. Nano-particulate silver paint can also be used to lower the electrical contact resistance between the electrodes 142, 144 and the carbon foam - Im material of the heater 10. Because the silver particles are of a nanometer size, they soften and melt at temperatures hundreds of degrees less that the melting temperature of bulk silver. This behavior is very size dependent and facilitates the establishment of excellent electrical contact between the electrodes 142, 144 and the carbon foam material of the heater 10. The heater 10 and foils 142, 144 and compliant elements 146, 148 are clamped together by contacts 114, 116. Contacts 114, 116 may be electrically conductive and be attached to electrodes 142, 144, respectively to carry current to the heater 10. Alternately, the contacts 114, 116 could be electrical insulators or have an electrically insulating coating but act as thermal conductors to cool heater 10. Isolating element 150 electrically and thermally isolates the heating structure from the plenum 110 and the entire assembly is unitized by clamping structure 152. A thermocouple 86 or infrared sensor can be used to measure the temperature of heater 10 and provide feedback to control the current delivered to heater 10. It is also possible to measure the voltage and current delivered to heater 10 as a function of temperature to determine the effective electrical resistance. Most materials have a measurable temperature coefficient of resistance and after calibration; it is possible to infer the average heater temperature based on the effective resistance.

In Figure 6A, electrical cable leads or wires 138, 139 connect to electrodes 135, 137, respectively. Electrodes 135, 137 preferably take the form of conductive foils. A variety of metals can be used for the electrodes 135, 137. Conveniently, titanium, tantalum, tungsten, or molybdenum or coatings of these materials on softer metals such as copper or silver can be used due to their relative chemical inertness at elevated temperatures. Compliant elements 131, 133 are heat resistant and, optionally, thermally conductive material. Compliant elements 131, 133 can conform to the surface texture of heater 132 and create local deformation of electrodes 135, 137 when the heater 10 is pressed against the compliantly supported 131, 133. One example of useful compliant material is GRAFOIL®. UCAR Carbon Company Inc. of Wilmington, DE., manufactures GRAFOIL® Flexible Graphite as a rolled sheet product that exhibits good heat resistance and typically exceeds 97% elemental carbon by weight.

The vaporization rate of the organic material from the three-dimensional, open cell, reticulated element is essentially constant over a wide range of condensed material mass within the foam structure but varies as a function of the temperature of the three-dimensional, open cell, reticulated element, as a function of the chamber pressure and as a function of the carrier gas flow rate. The large interaction surface area between the organic material and the open cell foam heater and the intimate and uniform thermal contact with the entirety of the conformal organic material coating greatly increase the vapor flux generated for a given temperature of the foam heater structure. In addition, the over 90% open porosity of the foam structure provides a low resistance flow path for the vapor to escape from the foam structure and for an inert carrier gas to further assist in evacuating the organic vapor from the foam.

Allowing the free escape of organic vapor from the condensate surface and optionally facilitating the escape with the use of a carrier gas fosters a low partial pressure environment at the condensate surface that further improves the vaporization rate for a given heater temperature. Because the decomposition of organic materials is strongly correlated with temperature, a reduction of the vapor generator source temperature by 50°C or more, as has been demonstrated with the device of this disclosure for a given vapor flux, provides a substantial reduction in the decomposition of organic materials. The disclosed geometry enables precise control of the temperature, the partial pressure, and the total pressure over virtually the entire volume of organic material at a very local level. The temperature of the inert carrier gas can be the same or different from that of the foam material. If the carrier gas is cooler than the foam material, it is possible to effect cooling of the foam and therefore provide the capability to rapidly interrupt, initiate or modify the vaporization rate of the organic material. If the carrier gas is hotter than the foam, it can be used to provide at least part of the vaporization energy and again interrupt, initiate or modify the deposition rate based on the gas flow rate. It is further possible for the carrier gas to be a mixture of an inert gas and an organic vapor such that the flow exiting the foam consists of multiple organic material vapors.

The flow rate of the carrier gas and its effect on the local pressure provide greater control of the deposition rate than is attainable by temperature control alone. Recalling that the vaporization rate varies exponentially with temperature, a 1°C temperature change can effect a 5% deposition rate change but over some range, the deposition rate varies nearly linearly with the flow rate of a carrier gas. It can be shown that a 20 nm thick film on a fifth generation substrate (1.43 m2 surface area) contains only 36 milligrams of organic material, and that 1 gram of condensed organic material infused in each 250 cm3 of foam volume per micron of condensate thickness can be used to coat at least 12, fifth generation size substrates, even with a deposition efficiency of only 50%. A one micron condensate thickness adds less than a 10 PPM change to the surface area of a 250 cm3 volume of open cell foam, allowing excellent deposition rate stability for a given foam temperature even as the organic material is consumed. For a high throughput application, producing 2000 m2 of coated substrates per day, the amount of organic material deposited per layer on average is 50 grams per day. If the deposition efficiency is greater than 50%, the daily required organic condensate volume could be infused in a foam block measuring 30 cm x 30 cm x 5 cm thick.

Multiple operating modes are possible. For example, multiple condensate coated or infused foam heating elements 10 (as described with reference to Figures 1, 4, 4A, and 6) can be loaded in a deposition source supply head 300, shown in Figures 7 and 8, and sequentially heated to generate vapor and thereby enable longer deposition periods than would be practical with a single foam element. The deposition source supply head 300 comprises a rotor 302 and a stator 304 that can rotate one relative to the other. In one embodiment, the rotor 302 rotates about the stator 304 and in another embodiment; the stator 304 rotates within the rotor 302. The deposition source supply head 300 shown in this exemplary embodiment is a hexagonal prism and includes a frame 306 mounted each face 307 thereof. In each frame 306 is supported a condensate coated or infused foam heating element 10. Heating element 10 is supported within frame 306 similar to the how the heating element 10 is supported within frame or clamping structure 152 as depicted in Figure 6. For purposes of brevity, the electrodes, electrical cable leads, compliant elements, contacts, electrical isolating element, and vapor manifold described with reference to Figure 6 are not shown in or described with reference to Figures 7 and 8 (with the exception of a single contact 309 which is visible in Figure 8). However, those skilled in the art will recognize the need for such elements to be present so that heating element 10 can actually function as a heater. An inert carrier gas flowing through feed tube 308 enters duct 310 in stator 304 that is in rotatable but gas sealing cooperation with rotor 302. The inert carrier gas passes through duct 312 in rotor 302 and is distributed uniformly over the surface of the active open cell foam heating element 10. The carrier gas mixes with the vapor generated within open cell foam heating element 10 upon heating and is transported to a substrate 314 supported on a temperature controlled substrate holder 316 where the vapor condenses to deposit a controlled thickness film. The deposition source supply head 300 is rotatable such that each heating element 10 on rotor 302 may be positioned to align with duct 310 in stator 304 such that gas flows from feed tube 308, into duct 310, then duct 312 and through the aligned heating element 10. The carrier gas mixes with the vapor generated by evaporating material within heating element 10, the mixture passes into a deposition chamber (not shown) containing the target substrate 314 and the vapor condenses on the surface of the target substrate 314. Figure 8 shows a perspective view of the deposition source supply head. While each face 307 of rotor 302 is depicted as being planar, and each heating element 10 is depicted as having planar surfaces, those skilled in the art will understand that the support faces 307 may have other shapes. For example, each heating element 10 may take a curvilinear form, and support faces 307, or the frames 306, or both may be either or at least adapted to receive curvilinear heating elements. In this manner, the apparatus can be adapted to vapor deposit onto substrates that curved or non-planar surfaces. Alternatively, each of the condensate infused heating elements 10 can contain a different vaporizable material such that a single substrate 314 sequentially receives coatings of different materials as rotor 302 carries different condensate infused heating elements 10 into alignment with carrier gas duct 312 and substrate 314.

One skilled in the art will appreciate that a rotatable multi-faceted prism 320 as shown in Figure 9 can be used in combination with one or more deposition source supply heads 300. A substrate holder 322 and a target substrate 324 can be mounted on each face of a rotatable multi-faceted prism 320 and be rotated into facing alignment with one of several condensate infused heating elements 10 on one or more deposition heads 300 such that single or multiple film depositions can be

accomplished in a continuous manner on successive substrates 324. The apparatus shown in Figure 9 could, for example, deposit twelve different layers on a continuous succession of substrates. In this embodiment, a single gas feed tube 308, stator 304 and duct 310 are shown in deposition heads 300 but one skilled in the art will understand that multiple gas feed tubes, stators, and ducts can be arranged within rotor 302, each in fluid communication with a different condensate infused heating element 10, to simultaneously evaporate infused, vaporizable material on multiple substrates simultaneously. If there were multiple, multi-faceted prisms 320 holding substrates arranged around one deposition source supply head having multiple gas feed tubes then multiple substrates (on different substrate holding prisms) could receive coatings simultaneously. The substrate holding prisms could remain stationary while a single deposition head sequenced through six different materials on its six faces to build six layer film stacks on one of the substrates per substrate holding prism. Alternately, the deposition head could remain stationary while the multiple substrate holding prisms sequenced through their six substrates each to deposit the same material on each of the six substrates before the deposition head is rotated to begin depositing a new material on each of the six substrates. It is also possible to recharge expended and idle foam heating elements 10 with condensate in-situ as shown in Figure 10. In this embodiment, multiple condensate coated or infused foam heating elements 10 can be loaded in a deposition source supply head 400, shown top view in Figure 10. These heating elements 10 can be sequentially heated to generate vapor and thereby enable longer deposition periods than would be practical with a single foam element. The deposition source supply head 400 comprises a rotor 402 and stator portions 404, 406 that can rotate one relative to the other. In one embodiment, the rotor 402 rotates about stator portions 404, 406 and in another embodiment; the stator portions 404, 406 rotate within rotor 402. The deposition source supply head 400 shown in this exemplary embodiment is a hexagonal prism and includes a frame 408 mounted each face thereof. Frames 408 are identical to frames 306 described with reference to Figure 7. In each frame 408 is supported a at least one condensate coated or infused foam heating elements 10. Heating elements 10 is supported within frames 408 similar to the how the heating element 10 is supported within frame 22 as depicted in Figure 6. For purposes of brevity, the electrodes, electrical cable leads, compliant elements, contacts, electrical isolating element, and vapor manifold described with reference to Figure 6 are not shown in or described with reference to Figures 10 and 11. However, those skilled in the art will recognize the need for such elements to be present so that heating element 10 can actually function as a heater. An inert carrier gas flowing through feed tube 410 enters duct 412 in stator portion 404 that is in rotatable but gas sealing cooperation with rotor 402. The inert carrier gas passes through duct 414 in rotor 402 and is distributed uniformly over the surface of the active open cell foam heating element 10. The carrier gas mixes with the vapor generated within open cell foam heating element 10 and is transported to a substrate 416 supported on a substrate support 418 contained within a deposition chamber (not shown) where the vapor condenses to deposit a controlled thickness film. The deposition source supply head 400 is rotatable such that each heating element 10 on rotor 402 may be positioned to align with a duct 412 in stator portion 404 such that gas flows from feed tube 410, into duct 412, then duct 414 and through the selected aligned heating element 10. The carrier gas mixes with the vapor generated by evaporating material within heating element 10, the mixture passes into a deposition chamber (not shown) containing the target substrate 416 and the vapor condenses on the surface of the substrate 416.

In the embodiment shown in Figure 10, a replenishment vapor flux is generated from a second vapor source (not shown), passes through feed tube 410 and into duct 420 in stator portion 406 that is in rotatable but gas sealing cooperation with rotor 402. The replenishment vapor passes through duct 422 in rotor 402 and is dispersed uniformly into the volume of the foam heating element 10 (being

maintained at a temperature that will promote condensation of the replenishment vapor). As the replenishment vapor expands into the lower temperature and pressure region within the foam, it cools and the vapor condenses on the cooler ligaments of the foam to form a solid coating thereon. The foam acts as a condensate accumulator, storing enough organic material in the solid state to subsequently coat many substrates. The addition of a replenishment vapor flux in the apparatus shown in Figure 10 can maintain the deposition function of the apparatus as a source of vaporized material indefinitely. In this embodiment, it is not necessary for the replenishment vapor source to have a particularly steady or controlled vapor flux.

Figure 11 shows a cross section through the apparatus of Figure 10 along the plane VII to more clearly illustrate the vapor path through the apparatus. The rotor 402 is rotated to align a selected heating element 10 supported within a frame 408 with ducts 412, 414 so that deposition vapor can be generated in the selected heating element 10 and transmitted to a target substrate 416. Similarly, rotor 402 is rotated to align a selected heating element 10 supported within a frame 408 with ducts 420, 422 so that replenishment vapor can be delivered to a spent heating element 10 to re-coat the spent heating element with a coating of the deposition material. After the spent heating element 10 has been re-charged with vapor deposition material, it can be rotated back into a position of alignment with ducts 412, 414.

An alternate, exemplary vapor deposition apparatus including a vapor deposition head 500 is shown in Figures 12, 13 and 14 which is similarly capable of sequentially heating and vaporizing material from one or more open cell foam elements 10 and which is capable of having a separate station to replenish the condensate coating on the one or more exhausted open cell foam elements. A controlled carrier gas flows through feed tube 502 and into duct 504 in stator portion 506. The carrier gas passes through duct 508 in rotor 510 and mixes with material vaporized in open cell foam heating element 10. The material vapor then condenses on the surface of substrate 512 supported on substrate holder 514 (shown in Figure 14) in facing alignment to foam heating element 10 individually supported with a respective frame 511 attached to rotor 510. A replenishment vapor of selected vapor deposition material may be admitted through feed tube 516 and into duct 518 in stator portion 520. The replenishment vapor then passes through duct 522 in rotor 510 and condenses on the ligaments of open cell foam heating element 10 then aligned with duct 518. This configuration shares all of the functional capabilities of the apparatus shown in Figures 7 and 10 in that multiple material infused foam heating elements 10 may be sequentially heated to generate a material vapor that mixes with a carrier gas for deposition on a substrate 512 in facing alignment analogous to the functionality of the apparatus shown in Figure 7; the one or more substrate holders 514 supporting respective substrates 512 may themselves be supported on a rotatable table (not shown) allowing one or more deposition heads 500 to simultaneously deposit material on substrates 512 supported by one or more substrate support tables analogous to the functionality of the apparatus shown in Figure 9, and a replenishment vapor of a selected vapor deposition material can be introduced to replenish deposition material in expended foam elements 10 positioned outside of active deposition positions analogous to the functionality of the apparatus shown in Figure 10.

This configuration can enable additional functionality however when each of the foam heating elements 10 is used simultaneously to generate material vapors that mix with separate carrier gas flows to deposit a mixture of materials on a facing substrate surface. The multiple foam elements 10 may remain stationary relative to the target substrate during the deposition process and rely on gas mixing to create a spatially uniform material concentration in the deposited film or may additionally utilize rotational, translation or other relative motion between the foam heating elements 10 and the substrate to create the desired material concentration uniformity over the surface of the substrate. This mode of operation can most easily be visualized from Figure 14A for a substrate 524 having dimensions slightly smaller than rotor 510 that is located with its center concentric with the axis of rotor 510 and a short distance off-spaced from foam heating elements 10. [A rotary coupling could be used to communicate multiple gas flows from stationary gas sources to the multiple rotating foam heating elements. In this configuration, each of the three (in this case) foam heating elements can evaporate a different organic material at different evaporation rates to provide a film on the stationary substrate that is a controlled mixture of the three organic materials. Three separate gas feed tubes would be used in this example. Both the rotor and stator would rotate together in this embodiment so that the carrier gas continues to flow to its respective foam element. Further, those skilled in the art will recognize that the substrate may be rotated as an alternative to rotating the foam elements, . Typically the substrate must be temperature controlled and this would similarly require a rotary coupling for the coolant flow.

Experimentally, foam having a pore cell size of approximately 1 mm and a thickness in the vapor flow direction of 1 cm. proved effective in storing and releasing organic vapors when heated to temperatures between 100°C and 200°C in a vacuum chamber under a range of pressures from 10 to 200 Pa. In addition to demonstrating the suitability of the open cell foam as a means of re-evaporating a condensate coating, an experiment was conducted to determine if a replenishment vapor could be continuously delivered to a foam element that was actively generating a vapor flux. These experiments demonstrated that it is possible, by varying the temperature profile in the flow direction through a 1 cm thick open cell foam element, to use the foam element as a vapor selective sieve or valve. In a first temperature condition, the foam allows the free passage of replenishment vapor molecules through, as well as the generation of vapor from condensate within the foam. In a second temperature condition, the foam prevents the passage of more than a fraction of 1 percent of replenishment vapor molecules and inhibits the generation of vapor from condensate within the foam. In both of these conditions, the carrier gas flows through the foam virtually unimpeded. This behavior as a vapor selective sieve is observed even though there is sufficient open area to allow an observer to "see" through the foam element. In this pressure and temperature range, the mean free path, defined as the average distance a molecule travels before colliding with another molecule is smaller but on the same order of magnitude as the average pore size in the foam. It is believed that the short collision distance due to the mean free path to pore size correlation explains why the percentage of vapor molecules passing through the foam unimpeded is nearly zero and is much smaller than would be expected from the large line-of-sight open area. The ability to selectively allow or prevent the passage of vapor while offering nearly no resistance to the flow of the carrier gas is important to the operation of carrier gas assisted deposition systems from two perspectives. From a first perspective, it is useful to be able to switch the incoming vapor flow off when the desired film thickness has been deposited on the substrate and to do so without disturbing the carrier gas flow and therefore the pressure in the deposition chamber. The vapor typically represents only a few percent of the total gas flow but the deposited film thickness signal from the crystal rate monitor is strongly influenced by changes in its ambient pressure. By selectively inhibiting only the vapor flow, it is possible to maintain a constant chamber pressure and therefore a reliable film thickness monitor reading. From a second perspective, after passing over the substrate, the carrier gas must be exhausted and there is always some vapor in the exhaust gas downstream of the substrate. It is useful to capture this residual vapor to prevent unwanted deposition in the exhaust system and to do so without significantly impeding the flow of the exhaust carrier gas.

Although the first 1 cm thick foam element experiment failed to demonstrate the ability to generate a steady re-evaporated vapor flux that is completely independent from a concurrent replenishment vapor flux, it demonstrated that the open cell foam is a much more effective vapor sieve than its visual appearance would suggest.

There is shown in Figure 15 an alternative embodiment vapor deposition apparatus 600 in which replenishment of the coating on the open cell foam element 602 is performed in situ. A continuous flow of replenishment vapor from one or more vapor generator sources 604, 606, each with a respective carrier gas inlet 608, 610, and a respective gas flow controllers 612, 614 is directed to a vapor mixer 616 having an optional dilution carrier gas inlet 618, a gas flow controller 620 and gas

temperature controller 622. From the vapor mixer 616, the gas mixture is transmitted through conduit 624 into gas inlet tube 626 of gas distribution manifold or plenum 628. Open cell foam structures 602, 630 reside within gas distribution manifold or plenum 628 which may be heated by heating elements 631 to a temperature sufficient to prevent condensation on the internal surfaces of gas distribution manifold or plenum 628 of vapor molecules back diffusing through the carrier gas flow. Electrical energy for heating is brought in to the foam elements 602, 630, through wires 632, 633 and contacts 634, 635 such that foam elements 602, 630 function as heaters. The gas flow is directed to uniformly flow into the foam structures or elements 602, 630 and condense uniformly on the ligaments of the foam structures 602, 630. Foam structures 602, 630 are essentially the same as the open cell foam element 10 depicted in and discussed with reference to previous Figures with the exception that open cell foam heating element 630 does not have a coating of a vapor deposition material deposited thereon.

A substrate holder 636 controls the temperature of substrate 637 and the interior of the vacuum chamber 638 is maintained at a desired pressure by vacuum pump 639 in combination with pressure sensor 640 and pressure controller 642. In this embodiment, the gas distribution function within plenum 628 is accomplished with the second open cell foam structure or element 630 similar or identical to the open cell foam element 602 used to re-vaporize the condensed material. However, second open cell foam structure or element 630 does not have vapor deposition coating thereon. Instead of acting as a source of vapor deposition material in the vapor deposition process, second open cell foam structure 630 serves to evenly distribute the carrier gas across the upstream face of the open cell foam element 602. The open cell foam structure 630 may be heated by passing electrical current through contacts 644, 646 and current delivery wires 648, 650. As such, second open cell foam structure 630 may optionally be used to preheat the carrier gas. The

combination of the gas distribution manifold or plenum 628, heating elements 602, 630, gas inlet tube 626, electrical wires 648, 650 and contacts 644, 646, along with the open cell heating elements 602, 630 is referred to herein as a vapor deposition head 652.

In this embodiment, there is a temperature gradient established through the thickness of the foam structures 602, 630 in the vapor flow direction such that the temperature is highest where the replenishment vapor enters the foam structure 630 and the temperature is lowest on the surface of the foam structure 602 opposite the target substrate 654 supported on substrate holder 656 within deposition chamber 658. Substrate holder 656 controls the temperature of substrate 654 and the interior of deposition chamber 658 is maintained at a desired pressure by vacuum pump 662 in combination with pressure sensor 664 and pressure controller 666. It is possible to achieve this thermal gradient by dimensioning the cross section of the foam elements 602, 630 through which an electrical current passes to establish a higher current density near the replenishment vapor inlet. It is also possible to use two or more individually controllable foam elements 602, 630 to achieve the required thermal gradient. Naturally, some thermal gradient through the thickness of the foam elements 602, 630 is achieved due to the presence of the heated replenishment vapor manifold on one side and the presence of a much cooler substrate 637 on the other side. As the replenishment vapor molecules enter the open cell foam structure along with carrier gas molecules having a mean free path about equal to the cell dimensions, they collide frequently with each other and with the ligaments of the foam structure. The vapor molecules colliding with the ligaments in progressing through the thickness of the foam have a probability of condensing with each collision and have an increasing probability of condensing on the increasingly cooler ligaments. With a single foam element having a one centimeter thickness, the vapor specific sieve behavior discussed previously was observed but generating a steady re-evaporated vapor flux completely independent from a concurrent replenishment vapor flux was not achieved. By adding a second, 1 cm thick foam element or by using a thicker foam element, the probability of condensing collisions is increased and the temperature differential in the flow direction can be increased such that virtually all of the replenishment vapor molecules are forced to condense before travelling through the entire foam thickness. Complete isolation between instabilities in the replenishment vapor flux and the output vapor flux can be achieved because the replenishment vapor first condenses, if only momentarily, before being re-evaporated at a highly stable and controllable rate. The momentary condensation regime is most desirable where extremely thermally sensitive materials are used. The momentary condensation regime is also most desirable where the replenishment vapor consists of more than one material and especially when the saturation vapor pressures of the more than one material are dissimilar. In this manner, the infinitesimal enveloping organic material coating of the foam structure is renewed or maintained by a continuous or intermittent flux of replenishment organic material vapor distributed uniformly over the surface of the open cell foam structure. This replenishment vapor substantially condenses in the form of a conformal, thin condensate coating on the foam ligaments directly. This embodiment allows continuous deposition onto a moving substrate such as in roll to roll production as long as the average replenishment vapor flux is equal to the average deposition flux. With this embodiment, a widely fluctuating input vapor rate supplied to the open cell foam structure such as by flash vaporization or through a typical vaporization in a crucible, can be transformed into a vapor output rate from the open cell foam structure to the target substrate with less than 1 percent variation.

Looking at Figure 15 A, there is shown a cross section view of vapor deposition apparatus 600. Heater 630 is sandwiched between electrodes 668, 670. The electrodes 668, 670 are made of a conductive metal foil, and electrical current flows through the electrodes 668, 670 to the ligaments of heater 630 through electrodes 668, 670 to cause resistance heat to be produced in the ligaments.

Electrical cable leads or wires 648, 650 connect to electrodes 668, 670, respectively. Electrodes 668, 670 preferably take the form of conductive foils. A variety of metals can be used for the electrodes 668, 670. Conveniently, titanium, tantalum, tungsten, or molybdenum or coatings of these materials on softer metals such as copper or silver can be used due to their relative chemical inertness at elevated temperatures. Compliant elements 672, 674 are heat resistant and, optionally, thermally conductive material. Compliant elements 672, 674 can conform to the surface texture of heater 630 and create local deformation of electrodes 668, 670 when the heater 630 is pressed against the compliantly supported electrodes 668, 670. One example of useful compliant material is GRAFOIL®. UCAR Carbon Company Inc. of Wilmington, DE., manufactures GRAFOIL® Flexible Graphite as a rolled sheet product that exhibits good heat resistance and typically exceeds 97% elemental carbon by weight.

The sandwich configuration shown in Figure 15A provides low contact resistance between the heater 600 and the electrodes 668, 670, insuring that at least 90 percent of the heat is generated in the ligaments of heater 630 instead of at the interface between the electrodes 668, 670 and the heater 630. Nano-particulate silver paint can also be used to lower the electrical contact resistance between the electrodes 668, 670 and the carbon foam material of the heater 630. Because the silver particles are of a nanometer size, they soften and melt at temperatures hundreds of degrees less that the melting temperature of bulk silver. This behavior is very size dependent and facilitates the establishment of excellent electrical contact between the electrodes 668, 670 and the carbon foam material of the heater 630. The heater 630, electrodes 668, 670 and compliant elements 672, 674 are clamped together by contacts 644, 646. Contacts 644, 646 may be electrically conductive and be attached to electrodes 668, 670, respectively to carry current to the heater 630. Alternately, the contacts 644, 646 could be electrical insulators or have an electrically insulating coating but act as thermal conductors to cool heater 630. Isolating element 676 electrically and thermally isolates the heating structure from the plenum 628 and the entire assembly is unitized by clamping structure 678. A thermocouple 680 or infrared sensor can be used to measure the temperature of heater 630 and provide feedback to control the current delivered to heater 630. It is also possible to measure the voltage and current delivered to heater 630 as a function of temperature to determine the effective electrical resistance. Most materials have a measurable temperature coefficient of resistance and after calibration; it is possible to infer the average heater temperature based on the effective resistance.

A sensor 682 can be used in-situ to measure the vapor flux emanating from the foam structure 602 and this signal can be used to control the power delivered to foam element 602 or both foam elements 602 and 630 such that the output vapor flux can be controlled to very precise flux values that remain substantially invariant over long time intervals despite temperature and pressure variations in the system. Sensor 682 can be a quartz crystal oscillator or other in-situ deposited film thickness measurement sensor that measures the rate of deposition of the material vapor on the active face of the sensor. The feedback loop to the foam element 602 and or 630 can be of a very low bandwidth, measured in tens of seconds because of the inherently stable output flux from the foam element 602. The action of the foam element can be compared to that of an electrical capacitor such that a relatively constant output signal is obtained even when the input signal is highly variable. This behavior is depicted graphically in Figure 16, which shows a widely variable input rate 684 of replenishment deposition vapor to an open cell foam heating element 10 to form a vapor deposition coating thereon. Yet the output rate 686 of deposition vapor generated by heating the foam heating element 10 is very stable. The control system could advantageously also contain a cascaded control loop to adjust the average replenishment vapor flux of vapor sources 604 and 606 based on a persistent positive or negative control signal in the primary loop controlling the power delivered to the foam element 602.

We have described the use of the open cell foam structures in fairly general terms but the illustrations show the foam elements being used in what may be analogized to showerhead-type arrangement, with individual foam elements having a generally square shape. It is also possible to use the foam in the form of a long rectangle such as would be applicable for a linear manifold used with in-line and roll- to-roll deposition. Figure 17 depicts an in-line deposition system 700 where multiple vapor deposition heads 702 are arranged in series. Each vapor deposition head 702 is substantially identical to the vapor deposition head 140 shown in Figure 5, or alternatively, the vapor deposition heads shown in Figure 15. A plurality of substrates 704 supported on a conveyor system 706 are transported in proximity to vapor deposition heads 702 and receive a coating of the respective deposition materials emanating from each vapor deposition heads 702 to produce a layered coating on substrates 704. The substrates 704 are shown as being delivered from a substrate supply magazine 708, transported on a substrate conveyor system 706 in close proximity to vapor deposition heads 702 and delivered to a receiving substrate magazine 710. One skilled in the art will appreciate that the substrates 704 may be delivered to conveyor system 706 by means other than magazine 708, transported by means other than conveyor system 706, and the coated substrates 705 may be received by means other than magazine 710. The vapor deposition heads 702, conveyor system 706, substrate supply magazine 708, and receiving substrate magazine 710 are contained within a vacuum chamber 712. The pressure in the vacuum chamber 712 is controlled through a feedback system comprising a pressure sensor 714, a pressure controller 716 and a vacuum pump 718.

Figure 18 depicts an in-line deposition system 800 where multiple vapor deposition heads 802 are arranged in series. Each vapor deposition head 802 is substantially identical to the vapor deposition head 140 shown in Figure 5, or alternatively, the vapor deposition heads shown in Figure 15. An extended length substrate 804 supported on a conveyor system 806 is transported in proximity to vapor deposition heads 802 and receives a coating of the respective deposition materials emanating from each of the vapor deposition heads 802 to produce a layered coating on substrate 804. The substrate 804 is shown as being delivered from a roll 808, transported on a substrate conveyor system 806 in close proximity to vapor deposition heads 802 and delivered to a receiving roll 810. One skilled in the art will appreciate that the substrate 804 may be delivered to conveyor system 806 by means other than roll 808, transported by means other than conveyor system 806, and the coated substrate 805 may be received by means other than roll 810. The vapor deposition heads 802, conveyor system 806, substrate supply roll 808, and substrate receiving roll 810 are contained within a vacuum chamber 812. The pressure in the vacuum chamber 812 is controlled through a feedback system comprising a pressure sensor 814, a pressure controller 816 and a vacuum pump 818.

The term "extended length substrate" as used herein is intended include a substrates having a length that is greater than the length of the deposition chamber. This necessarily includes the roll-to-roll configuration shown in Figure 18.

The roll-to-roll configuration depicted in Figure 18 demonstrates that the present invention is applicable to batch and continuous deposition processes on both discrete and extended substrates. The flexible substrate can be made from glass, aluminum or stainless steel foil. These foils are typically between 25 and 100 microns thick. Polymeric substrates such as PET and PEN can also be used after a moisture barrier film coating has been first deposited as a support layer for the OLED material.

In each of these embodiments, the deposition rate stability on the target substrate is determined by the vapor generation rate stability of the open cell foam structure and is decoupled from any variability in the replenishment vapor flux due to difficulties and variability in metering and vaporizing minute powder quantities on an as-needed basis. By utilizing a phase change from gas to solid between the input vapor and the output vapor in the open cell foam, the objective of establishing and maintaining a controllable, precise and invariant flux of the output vapor is decoupled from the difficulties of maintaining a stable deposition rate from a vapor on demand flash vaporization system.

The invention allows substantial simplification in the preparation and vaporization of organic material for making OLED devices through consideration of the organic material purification process and consideration of the variables such as temperature, thermal exposure time, thermal conductivity, surface area, partial pressure, total pressure and convection that control organic material vaporization and decomposition.

In the practice of the present invention the thickness of the solid coating of material vapor deposited onto the surface of the three-dimensional open cell reticulated structure is preferably less than 5μιη. The preferred thickness will vary, however, by the material being deposited. The more thermally robust materials will support longer thermal exposure times and can therefore be coated to a greater thickness to enable longer deposition autonomy. The least thermally robust materials will likely only support sub-micron thicknesses to insure that they are consumed before they decompose. These sensitive materials are good candidates for use with the continuous vapor replenishment mode of operation.

In the practice of the present invention the solid coating of material vapor deposited onto the surface of the three-dimensional open cell reticulated structure is substantially pure. The term "substantially pure" is used herein to denote of at least 99.5% purity and less than 10 PPM of halogens such as fluorine, chlorine, bromine. This is a significant improvement over the typical solution purification of OLED materials, which may vary by material and synthesis method used. However, it is believed that solution purification of OLED materials is generally limited to less than 97% or 98% purity. This may not seem like a large numerical difference but the performance and especially the lifetime of OLED devices can be degraded 10% by chlorine concentrations as low as 30 PPM.

OLED materials that can be vapor deposited with the present invention include, by way of example, TiOPC, NPB, LiQ, TcTa, Bphen, DMQA, DBQA, Rubrene, TMDBQA, Ir(ppy)3, Ir(ppy)2(acac), Ir(mppy)3, CBP, A1Q3, DCJTB, Ir(piq)3, Ir(piq)2(acac), Ir(2-phq)3, Ir(2-phq)2(acac), Ir(BT)2(acac), DCM, F4-TCNQ, Perylene, Pentacene.

While the present invention has been discussed primarily as a method for vapor depositing OLED materials, it is possible to vapor deposit metals and ceramics. Glassy carbon is an example of a non-graphitizing carbon that is a carbon which cannot be transformed into crystalline graphite even at temperatures of 3000°C and above (Franklin, Proc. Roy. Soc, A, 209, 196, 1951, Harris, Int. Mater. Rev., 42, 206. 1997). In addition to very high thermal stability, its distinguishing properties include its extreme resistance to chemical attack: it has been demonstrated that the rates of oxidation of glassy carbon in oxygen, carbon dioxide or water vapour are lower than those of any other carbon (Jenkins and Kawamura, Polymeric Carbons - Carbon Fibre, Glass and Char (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). 1976). It is also highly resistant to attack by acids. Thus, while normal graphite is reduced to a powder by a mixture of concentrated sulphuric and nitric acids at room temperature, glassy carbon is unaffected by such treatment, even after several months.

The inertness of glassy carbon makes it a useful crucible material for melting and vaporizing a wide range of organic and inorganic materials including metals. The process described here for controllably vaporizing organic materials can therefore be used to controllably vaporize a wide range of materials whose vaporization

temperatures are below 3000°C. This capability encompasses most of the elements from the periodic table including elements from groups I, III and VI that are notable for photovoltaic applications. Copper, indium, gallium and selenium could be vaporized to deposit CIGS, cadmium telluride could also be vapour deposited by this method to achieve a uniform film coating on a continuously moving substrate for use in high volume fabrication of photovoltaic devices. While the intermediate vapor deposition receptacle is described herein as a conductive three-dimensional, open cell, reticulated structure, preferably an open cell vitreous carbon foam, it should be understood that the intermediate vapor deposition receptacle can be formed differently. As an example, it may be comprised of multiple layers of carbon fiber mesh or lattice overlaid on one another to yield a conductive, open, three-dimensional reticulated structure with a multitude of tortuous flow paths therethrough. The tortuous flow paths promote mixing of the gas with the organic vapor generated around the heated ligaments or fibers, and the flow and temperature of the inert carrier gas contribute to controlling the rate of generation and transport of the organic vapor toward the deposition target substrate.

PARTS LIST

10 open cell foam structures

11 sublimation purification apparatus

12 material to be purified

14 vaporization apparatus

16 vacuum chamber

18 heating elements

20 crucible

21 vacuum pump

22 condensate collection tube

24 pressure sensor

26 pressure controller

28 struts or ligaments

30 coating of condensed material

32 vapor deposition apparatus

34 input tube

36 mass flow controller 38 gas heater

40 input duct

42 gas distribution manifold or plenum

44, 45 wires

46, 48 contacts

50 vacuum chamber

52 substrate holder

54 substrate

56 vacuum pump

58 pressure sensor

60 pressure controller

62 heating elements

64, 66 electrodes

68, 70 cable leads

72, 74 compliant elements

76, 78 contacts

80 isolating element

84 clamping structure

86 thermocouple

100 vapor deposition apparatus

102 input tube

104 mass flow controller

106 gas heater

108 input duct

110 gas distribution manifold or plenum

112, 113 wires

114, 116 contacts

118 vacuum chamber

120 substrate holder

122 substrate

124 vacuum pump

126 pressure sensor 128 pressure controller

130 heating elements

131, 133 compliant elements

132 second open cell foam structure

134, 136 contacts

135, 137 electrodes

138, 139 wires

140 vapor deposition head

142, 144 electrodes

146, 148 compliant elements

150 isolating element

152 clamping structure

154 heater

300 deposition source supply head

302 rotor

304 stator

306 frame

307 support faces

308 feed tube

309 contact

310 duct

312 duct

314 substrate

316 substrate holder

320 multi- faceted prism

322 substrate holder

324 target substrate

400 deposition source supply head

402 rotor

404, 406 stator portions

408 frames

410 feed tube 412 duct

414 duct

416 substrate

418 substrate support

420 duct

422 duct

500 vapor deposition head

502 feed tube

504 duct

506 stator portion

508 duct

510 rotor

512 substrate

514 substrate holder

516 feed tube

518 duct

520 stator portion

522 duct

524 substrate

600 vapor deposition appara

602 open cell foam element

604, 606 vapor generator sources

608, 610 carrier gas inlets

612, 614 gas flow controllers

616 vapor mixer

618 dilution carrier gas inlet

620 gas flow controller

622 gas temperature controller

624 conduit

626 gas inlet tube

628 gas distribution manifold or plenum

630 open cell foam structure 631 heating elements

632, 633 wires

634, 635 contacts

636 substrate holder

637 substrate

638 vacuum chamber

639 vacuum pump

640 pressure sensor

642 pressure controller

644, 646 contacts

648, 650 wires

652 vapor deposition head

654 target substrate

656 substrate holder

658 deposition chamber

660 deposition chamber

662 vacuum pump

664 pressure sensor

666 pressure controller

668, 670 electrodes

672, 674 compliant elements

676 isolating element

678 clamping structure

680 thermocouple

682 sensor

684 variable input rate

686 output rate

700 in-line deposition system

702 vapor deposition heads

704 substrates

705 coated substrates

706 conveyor system 708 substrate supply magazine

710 receiving substrate magazine

712 vacuum chamber

714 pressure sensor

716 pressure controller

718 vacuum pump

800 in-line deposition system

802 vapor deposition heads

804 substrate

805 coated substrate

806 conveyor system

808 substrate supply roll

810 substrate receiving roll

812 vacuum chamber

814 pressure sensor

816 pressure controller

818 vacuum pump

Claims

CLAIMS:
1. A vapor deposition material source for use in a vapor deposition process comprising:
(a) an in particular electrically conductive three-dimensional, open cell, reticulated structure; and
(b) a solid coating of a selected vapor deposition material deposited onto the conductive three-dimensional, open cell, reticulated structure by vapor deposition.
2. A vapor deposition material source according to claim 1 or in particular according thereto wherein:
the conductive three-dimensional, open cell, reticulated structure is a vitreous carbon foam.
3. A vapor deposition material source according to one of the preceeding claims or in particular according thereto wherein:
the selected vapor deposition material is an organic or organo -metallic material.
4. A vapor deposition material source according to of one the preceeding claims or in particular according thereto further comprising:
a coating of a refractory metal or ceramic material vapor deposited on the conductive three-dimensional, open cell, reticulated structure, the solid coating of the selected vapor deposition material residing on top of the coating of the refractory metal or ceramic material.
5. A vapor deposition material source according to one of the preceeding claims or in particular according thereto wherein:
the solid coating of the selected vapor deposition material has a thickness in the range of from about lnm to about 2μιη.
6. A vapor deposition material source according to one of the preceeding claims or in particular according thereto wherein:
the solid coating of the selected vapor deposition material is substantially free of contaminants.
7. A vapor deposition material source according to one of the preceeding claims or in particular according thereto wherein:
the refractory metal is tungsten, tantalum or molybdenum.
8. A vapor deposition material source according to one of the preceeding claims or in particular according thereto wherein:
the ceramic includes silicon carbide or boron nitride
9. A vapor deposition material source according to one of the preceeding claims or in particular according thereto wherein:
the solid coating is an OLED material.
10. A method of forming a vapor deposition material source structure having a stable vapor generation rate for use in a vapor deposition process comprising:
(a) vaporizing a selected solid material to form a vapor;
(b) uniformly distributing the vapor throughout an in particular electrically conductive, three-dimensional, open cell, reticulated structure; and
(c) condensing the vapor to form a solid coating of the selected solid material on the three-dimensional, open cell, reticulated structure.
11. A method according to claim 10 or in particular according thereto wherein: the selected solid material is an organic or ogano -metallic material.
12. A method according to one of the claims 10 or 11 or in particular thereto wherein: the conductive three-dimensional, open cell, reticulated structure is a vitreous carbon foam.
13. A method according to one of the claims 10 to 12 or in particular thereto wherein:
the solid coating of the material onto the conductive three-dimensional, open cell, reticulated structure has a thickness in the range of from about lnm to about 2μιη.
14. A method according to one of the claims 10 to 13 or in particular thereto wherein:
the solid coating of the material onto the conductive three-dimensional, open cell, reticulated structure is substantially free of contaminants.
15. A method according to one of the claims 10 to 14 or in particular thereto further comprising:
vapor depositing a coating of a refractory metal or ceramic material on the conductive three-dimensional, open cell, reticulated structure, the solid coating of the selected vapor deposition material residing on top of the coating of the refractory metal or ceramic material.
16. A method according to one of the claims 10 to 15 or in particular thereto further comprising:
replenishing the selected solid material on the conductive three dimensional, open cell, reticulated structure via vapor deposition, after the solid coating thereon has been spent.
17. A method according to one of the claims 10 to 16 or in particular thereto further comprising:
replenishing the selected solid material on the conductive three-dimensional, open cell, reticulated structure via vapor deposition while the solid coating thereon is being vaporized and deposited on the surface of a target substrate during the vapor deposition process.
18. A method according to one of the claims 10 to 17 or in particular thereto wherein:
the conductive three-dimensional, open cell, reticulated structure is a resistance heater element.
19. A method according to one of the claims 10 to 18 or in particular thereto wherein:
the conductive three-dimensional, open cell, reticulated structure is a vitreous carbon foam.
20. A method according to one of the claims 10 to 19 or in particular thereto wherein:
the refractory metal is tungsten, tantalum or molybdenum.
21. A vapor deposition apparatus according to claim 15 or in particular thereto wherein:
the ceramic includes silicon carbide or boron nitride
22. A method according to one of the claims 10 to 20 or in particular thereto wherein:
the solid coating is an OLED material.
PCT/EP2011/060461 2011-06-22 2011-06-22 Vapor deposition material source and method for making same WO2012175124A1 (en)

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KR101709921B1 (en) 2017-02-24 grant
KR20140041793A (en) 2014-04-04 application

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